As much as I love my Crown Graphic, and enjoy the process of large format photography in general, the cost of my film of choice (Tri-X) has been keeping me from using it very much. I can’t plonk down $100 for 50 sheets very often – unfortunately – so I feel like I need to save it for something different. Something special, whatever that might be; something a bit more universal than my own work, like barns and trees and beaches.
Honestly, that attitude isn’t very much fun. I dislike barriers. So a couple of weeks ago when I was in my darkroom, looking once again at the container of DK50 sitting dormant (DK50 being the developer I use for sheet film) it came to me that the whole situation was ridiculous, and I consulted the internet for the cost of Ilford HP5. While HP5 doesn’t completely have my heart in smaller formats, I find it to be a lovely film, and I have been using it regularly. It’s also half the price of Tri-x. . . . sorry, Kodak, I ordered some.
I love it. I’ve been doing a lot more large format photography in the past two weeks, and plan to continue. With the agony of price removed, I feel free to use this camera for things I actually enjoy photographing, rather than trying to squash my creativity into a room it doesn’t usually visit.
My initial tests were very satisfactory. Here are two samples:
I bribed my daughter into standing for me so I could see how it rendered skin tones in daylight, by telling her she could make a photo of me next. For some reason, after she released the shutter, she grabbed one of the dark slides and pulled it a little, which did a great deal of damage to the portrait I made of her. Sigh. She also managed to catch me mid-blink, but here are the photographs anyway.
All photographs Ilford HP5 in Crown Graphic, at ISO 200, tray processed in DK50 1:1 for 7 minutes.